Topic of the Week: Subcultures

  • Posted on: 27 March 2017
  • By: thecollective

As people who occupy marginal social spaces, we often find ourselves interacting with or part of other, often not political (or not necessarily political) subcultures. One of the most obvious examples would be punk and its long history with anarchy, but would also include media fandoms, furries, gaming circles, and others.

While some of these may contain an explicit anarchist ethos or aesthetic (again, punk), many do not, yet still share cultural practices we might see as familiar (more intimate and supportive interpersonal relationships, experimenting with alternative ways of living, hatred of normies, and sharing of resources to name a few).

Do you belong to a subculture that isn’t an anarchist one? Do you find yourself acting differently in that space than in anarchist spaces? Are there things you find interesting about that space from an anarchist perspective, or is it all just for fun?



The only real difference I've seen in explicitly anarchist spaces is a slightly higher expectation of being familiar with fancy-ass political science terms, while hopefully still taking the piss if anyone gets carried away by the sound of their own voice.

I'm the same person but I spend a lot of time assuming people won't know what the hell I'm talking about in other subcultures.

Niche zones have a place for idea orientation but they also have a shelf life. As evolution tends to demonstrate evolved niches tend to be an impediment to further novelty. A good example would be the rise of the dedicated comic shop in the 90s, it did some good things for that industry but it also took comics away from an attention to the general news stand. A niche zone will atrophy after a while. The niche zones of anarchism aren't nearly what they were in the early 80s. Quality over quantity and a novel forms of sharing. The internet has more or less killed the need for an infoshop. It's time to blow it a feed back into more general discourse.

I've been actually meaning to blog about this.

The internet has more or less killed the need for an infoshop, only if what you value is ideological indoctrination instead of real social interaction and cooperation.

Just not in a niche identity youth cultural dominant form within the trappings of a city.

Edgy-cool punk rock guys in their '20s are just liked edgy-cool hipsters in the '60s... They're fresh blood required for the perpetuation of capitalist machine. Anarchist patches and slick pants make you look good in the face of liberal feminists so that'll also get you fuck victims... 'till they grow up to realize they've been abused by the same old macho men, pattern that's been happening since way before I was born.

But they also socially-done. I bet you won't even have punks in the coming generations. Post-'20s hobos dressed with ugly clothes nobody wants to wear might be the next trend in Third-World Muhrica.

Furries have a better prospect anarchy-wise than the completely failed punk subculture. Especially if that gets to combine with animal liberation and eco-anarchy.

...I meant "their 20's" not "the '20s".

I'm so old I remember Sid Vicious sporting a swastika T-shirt and some Nazi's attracted to the Brisbane punk scene. Sure, at its best, punk was anarchist, but there was also that fringe element. Then Malcolm McLaren may even have been a left-fascist!

There's little doubt that '70s-'80s punks were completely anarchists... just that early on Nazi infiltration/recuperation wasn't as much an issue. Fascists of these days were the very clean-cut, anal-retentive, hyper-normative moralists that punks were making fun of, and I guess that Swastika thing was part of the satire... tho real Nazi punks were quick to pick up on that. Nihilist punks aesthetics had become intertwinted with fascist aesthetics for a while. As you may know... nihilism and egoism in general have been quite inclusive to authoritarian and fascist tendencies... at least when some principles are not made clear enough.

Early '80s punks and oi did that, tho. Perhaps a bit late.

I was skeptical at first, but the bold text convinced me. Good argumentation. I would like to be this effective in person, is there an equivalent to bold text in the spoken word?

You step up and shout one of those really annoying, brain-warped commercial radio songs until somebody punches you to silence.

Like previous commenters, I am speaking specifically of punk, as that is my background, and, to some extent still one of the worlds I marginally inhabit. Punk taught me a lot about DIY, questioning authority, the visceral impact of aesthetics, and also recuperation, burn out, and empty slogans and gestures. I almost certainly wouldn't have used the label "anarchist" were it not for exposure to the UK anarcho-scene, and the revelation that some people really did put their ideas into action in their day to day lives and their art.

I will always appreciate it for that, and continue to listen to punk music, attend shows (and table anarchist lit at them at times), and involve myself to some degree in the local scene. However I have to agree with the sober assessment of the person above who says punk is "basically socially-done," when I go to shows now, there are less and less young people showing up fresh, it is largely an aging collection of musicians playing to an aging fan base. While I have always criticized the ritualistic aspects of punk, it has become very clearly primarily a sub-cultural, rather than counter-cultural scene). I think this slide into meaninglessness offers important warnings for anarchists about falling in to ritual patterns of how we engage with each other and our enemies.

Whatever drawbacks it has, it's worth noting that punk basically carried anarchism for a couple of decades in which it would otherwise have been about as popular and relevant as Hoxaism. A good number of us might never have heard about anarchy if it weren't for punk, nor would many of the most notable actions in the last few decades have happened if it weren't for the personal connections made at shows and other subcultural venues.

*That said*, the last few years have made the limits of this kind of organizing really clear. Not only does it lead to a lot of really insular and isolated scenes of teens and twenty-somethings, but the superficial nature lends itself far too well to bourgeois recuperation. The hipster was a natural result of affinities based more on chucks and tight jeans than actual ideas, and it managed to turn an alarming amount of what anarchists were doing circa 2007 into shit we now find ourselves railing against - veganism, bikes, "art-spaces", organic food and all the other hallmarks of gentrifying hellholes. In hindsight, there's a lot of ways we set that up - kids into DIY who wanted to avoid wage slavery started hawking shit they made to yuppies using a lot of the same talking points found in our propaganda, and before long a thousand "artisanal" hipster businesses were born.

Again, this isn't to condemn punk, just to point out that it can't be the be-all and end-all of anarchy, otherwise we're all but destined to be tomorrow's che guevara tee-shirt at the mall.

Bikes? What do they have to be railing against? I get your point on how some anarchists have established practices that have become yuppie landmarks 10 years later, but the idea that those privileged urbanites would abandon cars for bikes would still be a damn good thing. That means less of them rampaging the countryside, causing less air pollution and accidents in the process. We should also have been into bike street wars for years... an area where we've let cops take a major advance instead.

Go look at working class communities like commercial drive in Vancouver and some of the opposition to imposed bike lanes. Bike lanes have become part of the continuum of the infrastructure monopoly which anarchists have indirectly aided.

I've always been for promoting bikes in the city but always have understood the municipal demands for bike lanes as inherently reformist. It's just about anarchists stopping believing in pipe-dreams of the Left's big tent and have both anarchistic solutions and questions.

Most American roads have been optimized for automobiles. Insisting on biking upon them is something along the lines of masochistic or penitent or attention seeking. Shared lanes was always a bad idea, the two modes of transportation just don't go well together, regardless how careful each is trying to be. Bike lanes need to be their own separate infrastructure to work well. Urban centers shouldn't have car-traversable roads period, in my opinion. Just bad design, mindless evolution. Horses & carriages became replaced by combustion engine vehicles so gradually that nowadays most people think its normal that a city is full of car noise & fast movement. And then they go on to wonder why its such a foul environment to live in, but can't put their finger upon why.

Ok so does this mean we're getting closer to a deal that will unite eco-anarchists and Pothole Fillers Anarcho-workerist Federation on pooling in an working together to build a safe, practicable network of trails only suitable for non-motor vehicles? Still we'll be needing State approval for this to happen.

'til then.. yes those "masochistic, penitent or attention-seeking" cyclists may have to use those damn roads made for cars, and find ways to be respected on these. This is where the Pothole-fillers should start working on making speed bumps for the cars, like some anarchistic "concerned citizens" have been doing in California for a while.

It's that the two modes of transportation are incompatible with each other. They travel at different speeds, they operate much differently, the operators are in much different mindsets. Good intentions don't alter these features.

The premise doesn't have much to do with anarchy/ism specifically, so your dogmatism is ill fitting. Cities and urban planning? Anarchists came from these environments, they will continue to live in them. Some may establish their own, or other community forms. But infrastructure questions will persist. I'd think it would be preferable for a city to exist in a form not 20th century i.e automobile-ized. As in, how cities existed for the previous thousands of years.

Can you image living in a city or town that was as quiet as a forest? Or at least, a distant rushing river, at most. That was the norm, forgotten. I suppose the condition persists in some parts of old europe and under-industrialized parts of the world, but it's rare.

"The premise doesn't have much to do with anarchy/ism specifically, so your dogmatism is ill fitting. Cities and urban planning? Anarchists came from these environments, they will continue to live in them."

Well that is you and your narrow view of history... where probably anarchists have risen out of 19th century worker struggles. Anarchism was there way before, and definitely not just in shitty urban areas produced by the forces of capital. The infamous "Sea People" of the ancient Mediterranean were most likely to be the first anarchist society in the known, non-mesoamerican human history. And they smashed several kingdoms and empires during their heydays... leaving nothing but ruins and corpses behind.

"Can you image living in a city or town that was as quiet as a forest?"

Your imagination of a forest is very urban-centered. For how long have you been living out there in the forest? It's teeming with LIFE in there. If any of those creatures never came close to you, it's probably due to being scared of your hyper-real hipster looks or something.

"I'd think it would be preferable for a city to exist in a form not 20th century i.e automobile-ized. As in, how cities existed for the previous thousands of years."

You make more sense here. But also consider that the cars are the result of an evolution of the industrial society. It's hard to remove them from the machine that created them. You gotta take down the whole beast... unless you wanna accept reformist "solutions".

These days people tend to say 'People of seas' (POSs), or nautiphiles. Or as Lovecraft called them: the Deep Ones.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!!!

The " Sea People " you refer to were the early Phoenicians who were of Judean lineage, thus their mercantile trading dominance in the Lebanon and their expansionist imperialistic tendencies which didn't bode well with the Romans, a far cry from anything resembling ' anarchistic', actually the opposite. I'm Jewish, I should know.

As a descendent of the Sea Peoples, will you take it upon yourself to admit their historical abuses against Egyptians, Sumerians, Romans and other ancient peoples of color? The transgenerational genetically inherited trauma caused by your ancestors lives on to this day, and to begin healing from it we must first admit to its occurence. Reparations paid from industries where people of Sea People descent are over-represented may be a good place to start. Funds from banking, publishing and real estate sectors, for example, could be used to help rebuild & empower the Middle East, a grand unity project we might entitle MMEGA.

Bicycles and cars share the road just fine in pretty much the entire rest of the world. North American cycling suffers mainly from the fact that it's so rare. As the percentage of bikes on the road rises, so does respect, safety, etc, at least according to actual research.

Actual research shows that respect increases, huh? Okay, well, I specifically said I was not making a point about respect.

Mixed vehicle speeds & masses, the latter by orders of magnitude, is not ideal. I'm talking about user error, accidents, and the scope of severity for those accidents.

What unit was used to measure the respect increase?

Not saying that there's anything inherently wrong with bikes, any more than there is with veganism, organic food or tight black jeans and converse sneakers. You just can't deny the associations, tho. Were I a prole living in a low-income neighbourhood, I'd dread the arrival of swarming kids on fixed-gear bikes every bit as much as art galleries and ironic sushi taco joints. It's beyond cliched at this point and worth asking ourselves why.

As someone who used to put a lotta energy into cycling/anti-car work for a lotta years I gotta say I have some big regrets. Many of our "comrades" from the days when municipal politics was dominated by highway-building and suburban developers are now the vanguard of a different kind of pro-developer sentiment, and in a lot of ways this liberal "new urbanism" is measurably worse for proles. Rents have doubled, police presence has quadrupled and not one single group has been a bigger opponent of attempts to bring up gentrification than the same folks constantly demanding new bike lanes. In hindsight, a lot of that shit was just privileged as fuck, and it's not really surprising it turned out this way.

believe it or not is rudimentary anarchist libertarian economics. What anarchists have wrongfully been doing is putting the cart before the horse in the communities that they inhabit. Economics whether you like it or not is the language that we live and breath and practical answers to this are within that continuum at least as far as city/town life is concerned. In this regard I do give some preferential and provisional support to some of the Proudhonian C4SS types.

What about people that don't necessarily dress the part of your crust-punk anarchist but still hold anti-government ideals? Almost like sleeper anarchists, mainstream enough in appearance to be taken seriously by their peers but in reality despise authority and fascism?

Dressing the part of an "anarchist" a lot of times makes me see someone more in the vein of an "enlightened" individual, your white trustafarian with dreads and sacred geometry clothing/scarves/tapestries/gems/crystals that really doesn't know a thing about eastern religion or what the drugs they take do to their brain.

Tl dr; patches do not an anarchist make.

I belong to the People's Front of Judea.

They are not anarchist, but they are funny.


F***ing JPF......

Punk was a counter-cultural insurgency which anticipated the emerging loss of liberties and economic devaluation of the 70's which later in the 80s was implemented in the Thatcher/Reagan social and economic impositions i.e. war against drugs and Reaganomics. It was a type of mini- paradigm shift in opposition to the embryonic new Weltanschauung represented by disco music, El Salvador, the Falklands War, Iran hostage dramatics etc.

out here in the countryside i'm immersed in a subculture of Big Ford Truck driving, land-owning muhricans.
in town is a a lot of social-capitalist scenesters and straight-up Liberals.
all that disappears in the wild forest, where we meet each-other

Any subculture is prison.

Especially if it's dungeon themed.

punk is absorbed in capitalism the same as burning cars can be absorbed. there will be always individuals who will create subculture inside of subculture :)
social centers are full of many people: anarchists, Marxists, punks, artists, those who want just to have friends to drink beer, spies, and so on. although people can discuss many topics and make actions together, it is the choice of individual how much he will change himself/herself. good examples are some squats that existed more than 20 years, they are supported even by nationalists who hate immigrants but they will fight against the cops when the cops try to evict the squatters, it means, more popular house = more supporters (who are far away from anarchism). some people support squat just because they visited concerts there 20 years.
so, as I said, in the end, it is the choice of individual if he will stay product of this system even after visiting some social center (squat) 20 years. but surely, squats are visited by spectrum of different people, those who are the most active in squat that organize activities, if they are anarchists, they should supply visitors with interesting program that can attract visitors to think about or start to like anarchism. some people will become anarchists after one year, some after 10 years, some never. but anarchists don't like to preach anarchism, so, it is the choice of visitors if they will like the program in the squat or not. most squats are in the end some kind of cultural center, one center among 1000 centers and cafe bars in the city.
so, yes, even squats are absorbed in capitalism. Reithalle in bern, switzerland, became business, they have even security company in their place, they didn't solve problem with drug dealers that can attack visitors (to kiss in ass secret service and harass activists), and so on and so on. from the moment the squat includes commercial activities (cafe bar, restaurant, whatever), it becomes the part of capitalism. it starts with the idea of self-financing but in the end it becomes business. all projects in the beginning are idealistic, but later become full of dirtiness.

I associate with the noise/industrial subculture. Many people I know consider themselves apolitical but they are familiar with the situationists, futurism or fringe occultism and so on. Not micrometer holding experts in oppression for sure. More anarchic than many sub-cultural anarchists--more anarchical in my estimation. the caveat is some are fans while others live the ethic, still aesthetic wins out over politics at least for my inclinations for relating to other humans.

I am part of a capitalist subculture. But you would know little about those, you proletarians. What you call subcultures, we call, "what those low lives are doing instead of producing for our culture or buying imitations of our cultural artifacts." Unless you are part of cop culture - a subculture of government culture - we mostly think these little distinctions you make amongst yourselves are excuses for being lazy and poor and ignorant and far too civilian to be dignified as Culture. Start a business you lames, then "brand it and expand it". That's what we say!

Same thing with cultural Marxism, its not dignified enough to be called Culture, its just an obsolete ideology. If it actually stopped global warming, it would have gained enough kudos and historical incidence to be regarded as a Culture, just as Capitalism is now a Cultural fact.

That's ... Not what cultural Marxism is.

Its.....A concept thrown around by the alt/right, not a subculture or derived from a Culture, just an idea without any history.

Correct. Did you just look it up now?
More specifically, certain militant sections of the far right actually believe this paranoid gibberish to the point where they see an ordinary person participating in anti-racist actions and can rationalize physically attacking them because "they're commies working for George Soros".

It's The Other which permits them to dehumanize their enemy.

I'm happy you agree with me 23.02, yes, the other side to the same coin, umm, its also an action of the militant left, they see an ordinary person participating in an antifa action and attack them as if they are Mussolini or Franco. Non union workers working for the capitalists or the police who protect them and their property are also condemned as the lowest of low and purged. I pity you and your capitalist predicament, but don't forget us peasant workers on basic wage, we all just want to be apolitical and individuals just like Bakunin was. I'm new to anarchism, but it is complex and sometimes ruthless me thinks,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,?

typo>>>I meant militant left seeing ordinary people in anti-left action and attack as if Mussolini or Franco. Dyslectic left/right reversal lol.

Mr. T says "it's April Fools!"

the 'collapse of truth' is telling us something about 'cultures' and 'subcultures'; i.e. that they are not 'real things-in-themselves'. cultural groups form on the basis of agreeing on the meaning of symbols, words and definitions. the group uses these to construct a semantic reality that they use as an 'operative reality' to orchestrate and shape their behaviours in their culturally coordinated fashion. this is where the group dynamic comes from; i.e. the agreement on a semantic reality that will be used as an operative reality, as in 'sovereigntism' or 'mafia' or name any religion or 'political 'ism' you like.

these cultures and subcultures are not 'real things-in-themselves' as language and grammar presents them. you cannot put a bunch of people into a 'separating machine' with outlets for 'punks', 'capitalists', 'mafioso', 'muslims', 'communists' and expect integer-bodies to exit the separator. cultures are language games that we play. there is no problem in memorizing three anthems and swearing three oaths of allegiance, just as there is no problem playing poker and canasta, you just can't play both at the same time, but game-of-the-month or 'game-of-the-moment' or 'game depending on what crowd you're with' means that cultures and subcultures are not 'things-in-themselves' as they tend to be talked about. 'punk is a game people play, not a physical movement. the same goes for 'muslim', 'american' and 'yemeni'. people shift from game to game during the course of a twenty-four hour day.

of course, game-play influences our physical experience of living in a common space, ask indigenous aboriginals on Turtle Island how easy it is to convince Canadian, American and Mexican culture-language-game-players that there aren't really any binary inside-outside boundaries stretching from sea-to-sea across Turtle Island. while they are playing their language-games, cultural members are very serious about it because keeping the game going depends on believing in the words, symbols and definitions that constitute the language game.

"They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.” – R.D. Laing

What will it take for you to STOP GENERALIZING?

Obviously asking you to PLEASE DON'T GENERALIZE isn't working.

Do you have a brain injury, or what? An OCD?

Thank you and may clod press.

-- The PDG Collective (plus Harry)

He's NEVER going to stop. Only death itself will stop emile's endless prattle and some say his fingers will keep trying to type pedantic linguistic pseudo-theory long after the spirit has flown. Brain injury is as good a theory as any, there's already a long list.

1. He's a text generator
2. He's a very lonely troll
3. Autistic shut-in who talks to himself in the dark
4. Possible traumatic brain injury?*
5. Others I forgot, plus I stopped caring while listing

*credit goes to PDG Collective for this relatively respectful theory

It seems neither of you understand the word 'generalize' or how to use it.

It seems that way to you, huh?

Generally speaking.

rabble, rabble, rabble,

we construct semantic realities in terms of the intention-driven actions of things. in the physical reality of our actual experience, the relational situation we are in inductively actualizes, orchestrates and shapes our actions. situational influence is like water to fish [we forget that it 'comes first'].

The voyeur observer will construct a 'being'- and 'logic'-based semantic reality in which 'the salmon are swimming upstream to their spawning grounds'. In the physical reality of the salmon's actual experience, each is uniquely situated within a turbulent flow from which it derives its motive power and steerage [situational inductive influence is in a natural precedence over intentional drive]. intentional drive is a logically fabricated reverse-engineered, semantic pseudo-reality as nietzsche points out.

e.g. the tender and tasty lichens exposed by the northward receding snowlines in spring induce the northward movement of reindeer, and the advancing snowlines in the fall induce their southerly retreat. the voyeur observer captures this as if the reindeer has a built-in-logical drive/intention to 'migrate' north in spring and south in fall.

logical abstraction is a popular way to generalize. it is, as Emerson puts it, a tool that has run away with the workman.

Hi, I'm Harry. I'm friends with the PDG Collective but not a member. But I hate generalizing just as much as the next feller. Or lady, as the case may be.

It is my opinion that the EMILE9000 suffers not from a brain jury, but is actually a run amok, text-generating, anarcho-spew-bot.

Clod help us wall.

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